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Flash Fiction vs Microfiction:11 Differences You Should Know (2022)

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Flash Fiction has grown with time to become a genre of literature that has its audience (readers) and dedicated magazines publishing flash fiction pieces to satisfy this audience.

Microfiction, on the other hand, is growing and with time will become a distinctive genre with numerous websites and magazines to cater to its audience.

When the term flash fiction is used it is used to refer to flash fiction as a type of short-short story and sometimes as an umbrella for all stories smaller than a mainstream short story.

 Main Stream Short Story refers to complete stories within 1500 – 10,000 words.

Length is not enough it has to be a complete story with all the characteristics of fiction.

I will explain the differences between flash fiction and Microfiction. When you finish reading this blog post you will know the differences between the two terms.

Not only knowing.

You will be able to identify and distinguish between the two without any struggle.

NOTE This comparison is a look at the typical form of both forms and as with all other forms. There are outliers. 

Stories that don’t fit.

This is not a guide telling you the rules but a write-up examining what is.

With that out of the way.

Let’s get started.

A video on differences between flashfiction and Microfiction

Quick Tips

Major Difference

The main difference between Flash Fiction and Microfiction is the length. The length leads to different applications of the elements of fiction like plot, setting, characters, etc.

Major Similarities

The main similarity between flash fiction and Microfiction is that both of them are genres of fiction. They share the characteristics of fiction like complete plot, characterisation, Settings, and so on. 

1. Definition

Flash Fiction is defined as a genre or form of prose that tells a fictional story that can stand on its own within the range of 300 to 1,000  words. It has all the characteristics of fiction despite its brevity.

Sometimes it is also used to refer to all other forms of fiction that are less than 1000 words.

Whatever the word count.

Whether the words are rough numbers like 417 words as long as they are within 300 to 1000 words they are referred to as flash fiction.

Microfiction is a fictional story that is between six words and three hundred words. It also refers to other distinctive forms under three hundred words like

  • Drabble
  • Dribble 
  • Twitific.
  • Six-word story
  • And another random number of words under three hundred words.

2. Popularity

Considering how popular each genre was I needed a way to gauge the popularity of flash fiction and Microfiction.

I decided to use Google Trends.

Google Trends is a tool that Google Provides to help you see search terms and topics that are trending.

The tool does not provide specific numbers but when you compare two search terms or topics together it gives you a simple graph comparing the two terms

Search Term

For this comparison I looked at how popular the individual words are:

  • Flash Fiction
  • Microfiction

Topic

This looks at the popularity of both the individual search terms and other related search terms similar to the main search Term.

What this means is that for a term like flash fiction the topic comparison would also take into account things like 

  • Flash Fiction Prompts
  • Flash Fiction magazines
  • Flash Fiction contests

The same principle applies to the term Microfiction

  • Microfiction contests
  • Microfiction prompts
  • Microfiction magazines
Flash Fiction vs Microfiction
Flash fiction and Microfiction Comparison Chart

From the graph above we see that flash fiction is way more popular compared to Microfiction.

However, we see that Microfiction is increasing in trends.

Flash Fiction

According to semrush data collected on 22 April, 2022 Flash fiction has a global search volume of 32,400.

While microfiction has 2400 global search volume.

2. Word Count 

Flash Fiction is a term used to refer to stories that are typically between 300 to 1,000 words.

While Microfiction is used for stories within the range of 6 to 300 words.

3. Settings 

The power of the flash fiction and Micro Fiction genre is the power of its brevity. The story excels not only in what is known but also in what is left unsaid: little hints for the reader to fill in.

Flash Fiction generally has more settings compared to Microfiction considering it has more words to do this.

Microfiction has fewer settings( time and location change ) it doesn’t have that many words to use in the setting introduction when changed.

4. Character

With every character in a story, words are spent introducing and describing these characters.

Flash Fiction usually has more than one character.

Microfiction usually has one character and at a stretch two characters.

5. Time 

Time oftentimes is treated alongside settings but 

I would talk about it differently in this comparison.

Flash Fiction can be about a story spanning days and even weeks. Sometimes it could be a nostalgic story moving from the past to the current day.

For micro-fiction, the change of time is not that easy( even though there are exceptions to the rule ) as this would cost the story words that could have gone into the plot of the story.

6. Dialogue 

Some stories have dialogue while others don’t usually have. it depends on the story.

Flash Fiction has more cases of dialogue although there is flash fiction without dialogue.

Microfiction has less use of dialogue as the use of dialogue will involve two or more characters which the story cannot afford. 

Dialogue is only used when it is really important to the story.

However, there are cases of monologue ( a character talking to himself).

7. Plot

The plot is the events of a story in an interrelated sequence.

Flash Fiction can have a more complex plot considering it has the words but when compared to other forms like shorts story, novella it is relatively simple.

Microfiction has a less complex plot and it usually captures a snapshot.

8. Time It Takes to Write 

Stories take time to grow in our minds, incubating until it finally takes form. When the story has been completed there is also the time it would take for the story to be edited.

For this comparison, I am considering the time it takes to write the first draft in one sitting.

Considering the average typing speed for a slow writer

Flash Fiction takes longer to write compared to Microfiction

While Microfiction takes less time to write.

This is because of the length of both of them.

9. Reading Length

Depending on your average reading speed per minute the length varies if we take 250 wpm.

 This brings the flash fiction form to make the reading time 1 to 4 minutes.

While Microfiction takes way less at about one minute.

10. Theme as a whole 

Flash fiction can take a major theme and other minor themes 

Microfiction seeks to take a snapshot of a theme and most times the fragment of a bigger theme.

11. Description

Flash Fiction has a description of the setting and characters

Microfiction gives enough for the reader to paint the picture and allow the story to go on.

Conclusion

Flash Fiction and MicroFiction are confused with one another.

With this blog post, you should be able to tell the difference between the two forms.

If you like this blog post and have any questions drop them in the comments and I will answer them.

Which one of these genres are you interested in writing and reading? 

Let me know in the comments.


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By Onyemechi Nwakonam

Hi ,I write poetry and short prose. I am excited to help you organise your writing journey.

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